The IRS has stopped processing new employee retention tax credit claims as of September 14. Due to an increase in ERC tax credit scams, fraud and to protect honest business owners, the IRS won’t process new employee retention credit (ERC) claims for the foreseeable future. The immediate moratorium on new ERC claims processing was announced by IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel in response to concerns raised by tax professionals, the media, and the agency about scams surrounding the pandemic-era tax credit.
- The moratorium, effective until at least December 31, 2023, means that the IRS won’t process new ERC claims.
- The agency will continue to process previously filed ERC claims, of which there are about 600,000, according to the IRS.
However, the IRS says that it will take longer to examine those filings. As a result, claim processing times will increase along with ERC audit efforts and criminal investigations. The agency’s goal is to target promoters and businesses who are suspected of filing dubious claims.
“The IRS is increasingly alarmed about honest small business owners being scammed by unscrupulous actors, and we could no longer tolerate growing evidence of questionable claims pouring in,” Commissioner Werfel said in a release. “The further we get from the pandemic, the further we see the good intentions of this important program abused,” Werfel added.
The employee retention credit program was designed to provide relief to businesses and tax-exempt organizations. Eligible businesses that were shut down during the pandemic due to government orders, experienced a decline in gross receipts, or were recovering start-up businesses for the third and fourth quarters of 2021. The ERC could be up to $5,000 per employee (for 2020) and up to $21,000 per employee in 2021, so long as an eligible business paid qualifying wages.